What are communism and fascism?
As a socio-economic system, communism considers that all property is communal, that is, of the state or of the community. This system emphasizes the importance of a classless society, where there are no differences between the rich and the working classes, between men and women, or between races. Although Marxist communism is the most common form of communism, there is also non-Marxist communism. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
On the other hand, and as has been evidenced in the multiple existing definitions of fascism, there are many variations within what sociologists call “fascism”, as such. However, an attempt will be made to give a general description of its implications. Fascism is also an economic and political system, however, it focuses on the nation-state, which is led by a dictator within a rigid social structure. Within fascism, qualities such as exaggerated masculinity, youth, violent attitudes, and militarism are highly appreciated. Likewise, any outside idea that does not commune with the nation-state is highly undesirable, therefore, fascism often rejects conservationism, liberalism, democracy, and communism alike.
Communism can be traced back to Thomas More, a prominent English theologian and writer, who wrote about the society based on common property in his 1516 work Utopia. The origin of communism as it is known today is commonly associated with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in their work The Communist Manifesto, of 1848. Marx was a critic of the industrial revolution; he was convinced that capitalism abused the working class.
Within their work, Marx and Engels propose a communist system, where the property belongs to the community. This community must be atheistic and classless, to eliminate the differences between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels argue in their work that achieving this state would eliminate all the problems caused by inequality and exploitation and this would place the human being in a high degree of progress. However, Marx and Engels never describe how to achieve this partnership, leaving a blank for someone else to fill in. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
From 1917 to 1924, Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Communist Party in Russia, establishing the structure and direction that the ideology would have. His vision of a global communist state went beyond Marx’s “workers revolution.” To that end, Lenin sought to influence communism and the direction of its expansion throughout Europe. However, the party faced internal power struggles, leading to the expulsion and exile of key leaders, such as Leon Trotsky. This left the Russian communist regime at the mercy of opportunism until Lenin’s death. Faced with this void, Joseph Stalin entered, who rejected the theoretical in exchange for solidifying power.
The development of communism around the world was influenced since 1930 due to economic problems, especially in post-colonial territories, such as some countries in Asia and Africa, as well as in politically unstable regions such as Central and South America. Although Russia tried to take the lead through its economic and military influence, just as China did in Asia, the lack of real economic success so far has limited the “gains” achieved by communism.
Fascism leans on the glory of the nation-state. Its origins lie in the nationalist movements of the late 19th century. A couple of French men, Charles Maurras and Georges Sorel, wrote about integral nationalism and radical unionism as ways to create a more prosperous and organic society. These writings inspired the Italian Enrico Corradini, who postulated a rational-syndicalist movement led by aristocratic and anti-democratic forces. Combined with the futurism of the early 20th century, a doctrine that forced change, even through violence, fascism began to make its first appearances in Italy at the beginning of the First World War. However, fascism developed in different ways in each country (mainly in Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal,
Despite the different development processes, fascist regimes share several characteristics. Among these, extreme national-militarism, opposition to parliamentary democracy, conservative economic policies that favor those who have the most, contempt for political and cultural liberalism, the belief in the naturalness of social hierarchies and the desire to create a Volksgemeinschaft (“community of the people” in German). In this, the interests of the individual are subordinate to the goodness of the nation. The other two characteristics emerged in practice: the linking of corporate interests to the will of the State and absolute control of the media, with widespread propaganda everywhere. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
Social structures and class hierarchies
Communists inspired by the Communist Manifesto believe that hierarchical classes should be abolished by the state taking advantage of control of private property and industry, and thereby abolishing the capitalist class. In the same way, they frequently opposed other social constructs such as rigid gender roles.
Contrary to the communist goal of a classless society, fascism upholds a strict class structure, ensuring that each member of society has a specific and immutable role. Often within fascist societies, women are restricted to the home and the care of children. In addition, certain races or ethnic groups are considered superior, and racial or ethnic unity is promoted over individuality and diversity. An example is Hitler’s fascist regime, which glorified the Aryan race and sought to exterminate Jews, Gypsies, and Poles during World War II. Even groups with marked differences, or even “suspected” only, were also persecuted, such as homosexuals, the disabled and communists.
Both systems, fascism and communism, are against democratic processes, but in different ways. Fascism disparages parliamentary democracies. Leaders like Hitler and Mussolini participated in electoral politics before coming to power. However, after having it, they abolished political parties, opposed universal suffrage, and became a kind of dictators for life.
In communist countries, democracy appears to be a path to power (the communist majority is elected), but the tendency is a single political party to rule. Although elections continue to take place, the communist party of the country in question remains the only eligible option. Party leaders are often chosen for their age rather than their merits. A central committee within the party debates and basically sets the path the party will follow. Although communism proclaims inclusion, its tendency is rather elitist, and the concentration of power focuses only on one political party. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
Communism is based on the equal distribution of wealth. The principle of Marxist communism was “from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs.” Everyone within a society receives an equal share of the benefits that their jobs generate, for example food and money. In order to ensure that everyone receives an equal amount, all means of production must belong to the state.
Fascism, on the other hand, allows the existence of the private sector, however its economic system focuses on the strengthening and glorification of the state. Both fascist Germany and Italy sought self-sufficiency, so that they could survive completely without having to trade like other nations.
Both communism and fascism favor society as a whole over individualities. Within communism, religion and private property are abolished, the government controls all work and money. Personal decisions such as profession and education are often dictated by the government. On the other hand, although private property is allowed under fascism, almost all other options are also controlled in order to increase the power of the state.
History of communism and fascism in practice
The first real-life example of Marxist communism took place in 1917, in Russia, when the Bolshevik party took power in the October Revolution. The Russian leaders of that time, such as Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky were considered examples worthy of being imitated in other countries and promoting the growth of communist parties throughout Europe. In reaction to the growing communist threat, fascism appeared in Italy and Germany.
Modern fascism originated in Italy in the 1920s, when Benito Mussolini took power and coined the term “fascism” to describe his way of ruling. The focus was on nationalism rather than inclusion towards a “global communist state“, which many feared, could produce puppets of the Russian communist party. To prevent employees from trying to take control of their jobs, corporations and the main economic engines were taken over by the government (nationalized), merging business with the government and thus creating monopolies. Fascism spread across Europe, including Germany, in 1933 with the Nazis and Portugal in 1934. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
Communism spread throughout Europe and Asia, establishing a constant presence in political debates in dominant countries such as England, France, and the United States. In China the rise of the communist party, led by Mao Zedong, was the result of a civil war. China’s fall to communism caused much concern in Europe and the United States, although this concern was put on hold due to the start of World War II.
After the war was over, the Soviet Union was formed, inevitably joining several countries to its communist coalition. China, on the other hand, became active in its Asian sphere of influence, supporting North Korea against the US-backed South Korea in the Korean War. This contributed to North Korea remaining a communist nation. Vietnam was also an unprecedented case, when it went to war against the “defenders of democracy”, the United States. The latter lost the war, which resulted in neighboring Laos and Cambodia establishing communist governments.
In the same way, communism found support in South America, Central America, and Africa. Nonetheless, several of these regimes were overthrown by various US-influenced coups. An exception is Cuba, whose government was ousted by the forces of Fidel Castro in 1959 and declared its loyalty to the Soviet Union. Since then it has remained a communist nation.
Fascism was defeated in World War II, but Spain, under Francisco Franco, continued to be a fascist regime until 1970. Other fascist regimes emerged in South America and Africa, however they did not last long in power.
The spread of communism, while extensive, was probably less successful than it turned out due to the lack of collaboration between the Soviet Union and China. This lack of cooperation was due to each practicing a different “true communist” philosophy. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 and China’s economic depression that lasted for more than 50 years added to the failure of the other communist governments, leading to a large-scale abandonment of communism as a political theory. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
By 2015, China, Cuba and North Korea were the most prominent of about twelve communist countries (of the more than 210 in the world). However, China has adopted basic capitalist practices and has managed to rank as the fastest growing economy in the world. Cuba, on the other hand, has agreed to normalize its relationship with the United States (including the economic aspect).
No country currently operates under a fascist philosophy, yet neo-fascism (or neo-Nazism) exists in several countries, including the United States.
Famous Communists and Fascists
Among the most notable supporters of communism in the United States are the singers Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Paul Robeson. There are also activists Angela Davis and Bill Ayers, as well as spies Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs. Many people openly supported communism in the 1920s and 1930s. However, it was the 1950s who saw the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and the Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). He carried out hundreds of “investigations” in search of communist sympathizers. Although having communist tendencies is not a crime in the United States, this committee found little evidence of a communist conspiracy. This was enough for some people to suffer irreparable damage to their reputations, such as those on the Hollywood Black List.
Some famous Americans, as well as some American companies, were associated with the European fascist regimes. This was especially the case with the German Nazis, although many withdrew their support for the German party afterwards. Among the best known are Charles Lindbergh, William Randolph Hearst, Henry Ford and Joseph Kennedy, father of John F. and Ted Kennedy. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?
Communism and fascism within capitalist systems.
Many people consider capitalism, communism and fascism completely separate systems, but they share several elements. Within capitalist systems the presence of the “public domain” works to be shared by all and follows a communist principle. The public education system works in the same way. Employee-owned companies, or cooperatives, follow a communist model by giving workers the same rights and privileges as owners.
Political persuasion is a fascist feature of capitalist systems, especially in the United States. This allows and even encourages business wealth to influence legislation. Thus, corporations can forge alliances with the government and ignore the rights of citizens.
|Philosophy||Each one gives according to their abilities and for each one according to their needs. Free access to consumer items is only possible thanks to and through advances in technology, which will give way to abundance.||The state must seek glory at all costs, even through war. The past of the nation is exalted, a return to it is sought. The individual works best when he fulfills his role, which is to magnify and glorify the State. Other philosophies may vary depending on each country.|
|Ideology||All people are the same, that is why social classes do not make sense. The government must own all means of production (including land). People must work for the government and the collective results must be distributed equitably.||The state and the industry must be united, but the state tells the industry what must be done. Corporatism in Italy, National Socialism in Germany. Central planning of the national economy. Redistribution of wealth (Nazis).|
|Key defenders||Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, among others.||Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler are two of the most famous fascists.|
|Key elements||Centralized government, planned economy, dictatorship of the proletariat, common ownership of the tools of production, there is no private property. There is also equality between genders, and between all people in general. It also tends to have an international, undemocratic focus with a one-party system.||Idealism, centralized government, social “Darwinism”, planned economy, anti-democracy, meritocracy, extreme nationalism, militarism, racism (Nazism). There is an exaggeration of traditional gender roles. One-party system.|
|Definition||It is a theory or international system of social organization based on the possession of common property, with title in the name of the community, of the State. It also rejects free markets and capitalism in any of its forms.||It is an extremely nationalistic, authoritarian state, normally led by one person at the head of a single party. There are no democratic elections for those who represent them. Neither is there a free market, individualism, or glory for only one. The state controls the press and all the media.|
|Political system||A communist society does not have a state and is governed directly by the people. This, however, has never been able to be put into practice.||A leader (usually charismatic) possesses absolute authority. The government councilors are elected on merit and not by will. Nepotism is a common practice.|
|Political movements||Leninism, Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Left Communism, Stalinism, etc.||National Socialism, Neo-Syndicalism, Nazism, Strasserism, Neo-Nazism, National Bolshevism, etc.|
|Private property||It is abolished. The concept of property is negated and is replaced with the concept of common goods and that of private property with that of public “property”.||It is allowed, as long as service, obedience and usefulness to the State are put before it.|
|Economic coordination||Economic planning coordinates all decisions regarding investments, production, and resource allocation. This is done in terms of physical units, and not money.||The industry is usually a private initiative, with private owners. However, the State is the one who dictates the rules and the use of investments. Planning is based on projected future labor productivity and not money.|
|Property structure||The means of production belong to everyone, which means that there is no one entity or individual who can own the production goods.||The means of production are private property, yet they are run by the state. This is subject to the direction and interests of the State in the first place.|
|Economic system||The means of production are managed by everyone, thus nullifying the concept of property within the goods of production. Production is organized to meet human needs without the need for money. Communism seeks the condition in which material abundance exists.||Autarchy (a self-sufficient state). It is also Keynesian. Against international financial markets and usury. He also does not support trade unions as such, and is against trade union organizations.|
|Social structure||There are no social classes, that is, there are no distinctions between people.||In Italian fascism the strict structure of social classes was considered necessary to avoid chaos. On the other hand, in German Nazism all class distinctions were eliminated. However, Nazism believed in the supremacy of a superior race (Aryan). In contrast, Italian fascism was not considered racist, at least not in doctrine.|
|Religion||It is abolished. All religions and metaphysical beliefs are rejected. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?||Fascism is a kind of civic religion: citizens worship the state through nationalism. The state only supported those religious organizations that were historically or nationally linked to the state. An example of this is the Iron Guard in Romania, which had the support of the Romanian Orthodox Church.|
|Free will||In theory, economic and political decisions are made by the collective “vote”. In practice, demonstrations, propaganda and even force are used in some cases to control the population.||The individual is considered irrelevant, at all times they must submit to the orders of the leader. Gender roles are often exaggerated.|
|Change’s agents||The government in a communist state is the agent of change, and not so much the markets or the desire of the consumers. Government change can be slow or fast, this depends on the change in ideology among other factors.||The government of a fascist state is the only agent of change. Markets or consumer wishes take last place. The governmental change can be slow or fast, this depends mainly on the labor results or the will of the dictator.|
|Examples||Ideally there is no leader, people rule directly. Although in reality this has never been put into practice, what has transcended is the one-party system. Some examples of a communist state are the former Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea.||Fascist governments are led by one person: a dictator. This is not considered an aberration of the doctrine, but on the contrary, it is a key element of it.|
|Discrimination||In theory, all members of the state are considered equal. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism?||There is a belief that there is a superior race in Nazism. They also believe that there is one nation that is superior to the others (Nazism and Fascism). There are only two genera (M and F). The mentally ill, the disabled, alcoholics, homosexuals, Jews, etc. they were the main victims of discrimination.|
|Control methods||Theoretically, the State does not exercise any type of control.||Fascism uses force (secret police, government intimidation, concentration camps, and murder). In the same way, propaganda, demonstrations, etc. are used.|
|Background||It was theorized by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century as an alternative to capitalism and feudalism. Communism could not be “proven” until after the Russian revolution in early 1910.||The Roman Empire is considered a fascist entity. The first fascist theories were based on the examples left by the Roman Empire.|
|About the world||Communism is an international movement. Communists in one country tend to be in solidarity with Communists in other countries. However, they distrust nationalist countries. In the same way, they dislike big industries.||Fascists are ultra nationalists and identify with other nations and their leaders as long as they are also nationalists. Fascists do not trust internationalism and hardly accept international deals. For them, there is no concept of international law.|